Mike Holden takes a look at the clash at Ewood Park
Paul Lambert’s resignation at the end of last season adds weight to the suspicion that Venky’s have lost interest in their investment. The India-based company have pumped around £100m into the Ewood Park club, albeit in the form of interest-free loans, a position that's bound to put off potential buyers.
So it’s no surprise many are tipping Rovers for relegation, their plight being eerily similar to Bolton 12 months ago. And there’s not much faith in Owen Coyle to make light of the situation. The former Burnley boss is a downgrade on Lambert, just as Gordon Greer is a downgrade on Grant Hanley, arguably the division’s best centre back, who has moved to Newcastle.
It’s been a mixed week for Norwich in the transfer market, with main target Ross McCormack joining Aston Villa. But that’s no big loss in the overall context, the Canaries squad is more than good enough to challenge for promotion. They already have the depth and quality to eke out consistent results once the season settles down.
The big question is: can they hit the ground running? With Alex Neil at the helm, almost certainly. The young Scot made mistakes on his maiden season in the Premier League but he proved himself to be a very shrewd operator at this level two seasons ago and will demand the right intensity from his players.